The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations and companies to redesign volunteering in 2020 to provide a safe way for their employees to continue to serve our community. Corteva Agriscience was one of those companies that found a way to transform their business superpower into an impactful volunteer opportunity – keeping volunteerism and the importance of supporting local communities at the forefront.

When it comes to volunteering in 2020, organizations and companies had to prioritize the safety of their employees while continuing to serve our community during a time of intense need. Corteva Agriscience (Corteva) kept volunteerism and the importance of giving back at the forefront, offering safe and innovative opportunities including supply drives, literacy kit assembly, food delivery, and hands-on service events – all while adhering to necessary safety precautions.

As a company with both a passion and strong history of volunteering, Corteva knew it would need to get creative to provide safe volunteer opportunities in 2020. In the past, it typically participated in traditional programs through United Way of Central Iowa, like the Day of Action usually having over 700 employees participate. This year, the company modified opportunities to offer safe alternatives for employees, starting by holding a contactless essential needs supply drive to support local organizations around the community. The company collected items such as 122 feminine hygiene products and 12,595 baby products. This was a perfect example of pivoting traditional volunteer drives to create a safe and unique community impact event.

The positive feedback from this event led to additional contactless and virtual events, including a drop-off donation drive focused on supporting those who are homeless, at-home literacy kit assembly which resulted in 300 kits being distributed to elementary schools across central Iowa, notes of encouragement, and online monetary donations for veterans. The company also collected kindness bags filled with essential products and delivered 70 breakfast casseroles to the Salvation Army. The volunteers enjoyed these events as it was simple to remotely assemble or drop off items in need. As a bonus, these events gave our community a reminder that we are all in this together and we can do meaningful things with what we have, or through words of encouragement, to help make a positive difference.

The donation drives inspired additional volunteer and community impact events throughout the year at Corteva. The company adhered to COVID-19 precaution measures in order to safely host four in-person events with local nonprofit organizations to help aid facilities, perform maintenance, and assist with yard work, especially after the derecho in August. These hands-on opportunities gave volunteers a chance to safely connect and stay involved in the community. Once again, instilling the importance of supporting the community.

Volunteering has the power to raise morale, create a sense of purpose, and of course, create positive, lasting change in our community. United Way of Central Iowa can help organize impactful events that best align with the initiatives and goals of your organization, company, or group. If you are interested in hosting your own volunteer event with United Way of Central Iowa, contact Anna Schaber, Volunteer Engagement Specialist, at


Topics: Education, Early Childhood Success, Economic Opportunity, Health & Well-Being

Anna Schaber

Written by Anna Schaber

Anna Schaber is the former Volunteer Engagement Specialist for United Way of Central Iowa.